Anaheim Elementary School District might be operating in distance learning, but it is ready to launch a coronavirus testing program that will help staff members now, and students when they return to campus.

Starting Monday, Dec. 14, all of the district’s approximately 2,500 employees – from teachers and administrators to custodians to bus drivers – will be eligible for free, walk-up testing on a “as needed” basis at Key Elementary School.

The program is the result of a partnership between the district, the Orange County Health Care Agency and OptumServe testing, said Tracey Golden, senior director of school safety and operations for the district of about 16,000 students.

“There’s a need to be able to offer our staff regular testing on a free basis so we can ensure that we can reopen in a safe way,” she said.

“This was in the works,” Golden added, “anticipating that we were going to open (classrooms) in January.”

Earlier last week, the district announced its reopening of schools will be delayed until March.

Golden said while students continue with distance learning because of the pandemic, some district staff are working at school sites.

The coronavirus tests, she said, will be available by appointment on 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. The tests will be conducted via nasal swab, which seeks the virus’s genetic material.

The district has shared news of the testing program with its teachers union and classified employees union, which represents custodians, bus drivers, instruction aides and office coordinators.

The district earlier partnered with the county health agency to conduct community testing at district campuses, an effort that continues as Orange County endures a rise in COVID-19 cases.

“Any testing that we can do for anybody helps the community as a whole,” Golden said.

Most schools in the Orange County are not testing students. Some districts are requiring regular COVID-19 testing for all staff, including teachers, while other districts recommend testing if needed.


By Kelley Wheeler

Kelley Wheeler is a Metro reporter covering political issues and general assignments. A second-generation journalist, worked with all major news outlet, she holds a vast expeirience. Kelley is a graduate of USC with degrees in journalism and English literature. She is a recipient of Yale’s Poynter Fellowship in Journalism.

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